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I have a really good chance to travel to US as a blogger from Kyrgyzstan.
I have long made my mind that, for some reason, United States does not want to accept me on its territory. Why? When I was a high school kid, I applied to FLEX program several times. The program finalists would live in US and study in public high schools there for one academic year. But I failed both times.
When I was studying in Osh State University, Department of World Languages, I applied three times to IREX undergrad program that sends successful applicants to US universities for one academic year. But I failed all three times… even though I had decent essays and comparatively high TOEFL scores. It must be noted that some students, whom I helped to fill out the application forms and in writing essays, were selected to the second round of the competition each time.
I recently applied to Open World Program run by American Councils. The program is supposed to bring emerging leaders from post-communist countries like Kyrgyzstan to US and have them participate in intensive professional development training. The program is funded by Congress and operated by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress. I applied to Program as a young blogger, as the program has several target groups, and one of them is young people actively involved in New Media.
And I got an email from American Councils that I was selected as a finalist of the Program! Reaction of Twitter community in Kyrgyzstan was fast – my twitter page was full of congratulations and wishes of luck. But here it goes again – the next day, the same person from American Councils emailed me and other 2 active bloggers explaining and apologizing that we were selected not as finalists, but only as alternatives, that the first email was a mere mistake. Now, I get a green light only in case one of the finalists will refuse from participating in Program, which, I feel, is not going to happen. Cuz everyone in Kyrgyzstan, where most people cant afford travels abroad, is tempted to travel to US.
Organizers say that, even though I am on alternative list, I have to fill out the visa form to US. So here I go – sitting in front of my laptop and filling out the visa form offered in the website of the US Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Unsurprisi)ngly, the form requires me to type in dates of my visit to US. I wonder, will it accept “unknown” option?
UPDATE (27/01/2011): I got a call from American Councils that I am on final list. I am going to US soon
First, I am really sorry for being offline for so long. My life has become very hectic and full of travelling recently, so I do not have much time to keep my personal blog updated. I even did not have time to prolong the domain name http://tolkun.info. Frankly, I did not even notice that it stopped working.
So I had to pay $12/year to WordPress to have an option back that binds a domain name to blog. Now it works fine again. However, WordPress acted very strange when I was processing the payment. When I filled out the billing address WordPress requested, I indicated my Kyrgyzstani address and Kyrgyzstan as my country, which, of course, was in the list of counties offered by WordPress itself. But, WordPress kept saying several times ”Enter a valid country in billing address to finish the payment”. When I indicated a random European country, it worked fine and proceeded the payment.
Is it a WordPress bug or it simply does not send the bill to Kyrgyzstan?
Democracy is not only about getting foreign aid. It is also about being committed to respecting human rights, freedom of speech and rule of law…
- August 27, Karasuu city, Johongir Bozorov, father of small kids, ethnic Uzbek, sentenced to 23 years;
- September 3 , Karasuu city, 5 people in trial, all ethnic Uzbeks;
- September 13, Jalalabad city, 11 people in trial, all ethnic Uzbeks.
- September 15, Nooken district, 8 people in trial including a human rights defender Azimjan Askarov, all ethnic Uzbeks, 5 sentenced to life (including Askarov), 2 to 20 years, 1 to 9 years.
- September 17, trial of a journalist Ulugbek Abdusalomov, ethnic Uzbek.
All these people are being accused of instigating and participating in bloody June events in Osh and Jalalabad cities of Kyrgyzstan. It must be noted that despite obvious facts (HRW reports, rights activists and journalists’ stories) that government troops and police were involved in criminal actions in June events, non of them are in trial.
Another surprising thing is that many well-educated and open minded people in Kyrgyzstan are silently refusing to accept this truth. No one, except few human rights defenders (Umetalieva, Bagyshbekov, Kabak), are openly discussing this issue. They have been calling HRW and well-respected foreign media biased.
Only international organizations are working in Southern Kyrgyzstan helping people offering them temporary jobs, shelter and helping them build their burnt houses. Yet, Kyrgyz officials are accusing them of “ideological subversion”.
This is what is left of an old good Akaev’s “island of democracy”… who actually did a good job of building an inter-ethnic harmony.
This is how the youth initiative group in Bishkek called their campaign, which is about spreading T-shirts that read “I want peace in Kyrgyzstan” in three langauges – Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Russian.
As Sergey Makarov, co-author of the campaign, says “this campaign is aimed to raise tolerance and understanding among youth, and to prevent conflicts, like the one happened in the South of Kyrgyzstan.” Makarov also says that they will send 2 thousand T-shirts to Osh and Jalalabad cities in southern Kyrgyzstan.